Spain is one of the European countries with the highest rates of early schooling, despite it not being mandatory till age six. Although Early Years education is voluntary, it is actually the most influential educational stage in a child’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development.
However, according to the 2021 data from the Ministry of Education, Early Years schools have had an average of 23.763 enrolled children aged 3 to 6 less in the 2020/2021 academic year compared to the previous one. This contrasts with the recommendations from psychologists, educators and paediatricians, who all agree that contact with other children and teachers is essential for the child’s development during this stage.
The benefits of early schooling in the learning process
Several studies have proved that educational programmes in Early Years have real academic and cognitive benefits: according to research published on Science, children aged 3 to 5 who attend Early Years before starting their Primary education achieve better grades in the long-term and socialise with others better than those who don’t. This is due to the fact that this is one of the most critical stages in a child’s brain development, in which early intervention and stimulation in a learning environment play a crucial part and has a cognitive and physical effect in later stages.
During Early Years, a child’s emotional development is progressively addressed; a child who feels safe and happy at school is a child who’s open to learning opportunities. During this stage, children work on basic co-existing norms and social relationships. They also develop the needed skills to work independently and collaboratively through their own exploration, with teachers supporting them and extending their learning. Early mastery of literacy and maths are promoted in a fun, age-appropriate way, developing the key skills they will need later in their school life.
Ms Katherine Monaghan, Headteacher of the new BSB City campus in The British School of Barcelona, explains that: ‘The importance of Early Childhood Education in healthy child development cannot be overstated. Our Nursery and Reception classes provide the crucial, firm foundation upon which children’s future social, emotional and academic successes are built.
‘Each of our Early Childhood teachers is a highly qualified, experienced and passionate specialist in early childhood development and pedagogy. They work tirelessly to create a magical, caring learning environment which promotes curiosity, independence, and socialisation at every turn.
‘At BSB, our small classes —and highly personalized approach— allow our Early Years teachers to develop genuine, caring familial relationships with each of our families. This ensures that learning and personal care is tailored to the specific needs and interests of our young learners.
‘The result? Happy, thoughtful children with a thirst for knowledge, and the skills and confidence to seek it out for themselves.’
Key aspects to consider when choosing an Early Years school
Our specialists at BSB explain that one of the most important aspects when choosing a school is the possibility of attending all educational stages at the same centre in order to benefit from the same learning model. Providing a familiar, caring environment so that children feel at home from the very first day is also important. Children should see school as a place where they can unleash their curiosity and express themselves creatively; therefore, the school should be able to provide educational resources adapted for different age groups to facilitate this.
Parents should also consider the possibility that the child learns a second language to achieve bilingual fluency. This is specially recommended in Early Years, as this is a stage in the child’s development when they are already prepared to learn new skills and are more receptive to some forms of knowledge, so that language is acquired naturally.
New international Early Years campus in the capital of Catalonia
Due to the growing demand for places in international schools in the city of Barcelona, we have announced the opening of a new campus in Barcelona for the 2021/2022 academic year. The new BSB City Campus will open next September at the Foundation Campus, a modernist building located in the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district, with a capacity for up to 200 students aged 3 to 10 (Early Years and Primary).
Later, for the 2023/2024 academic year, BSB City will expand with the opening of its main building in the same area of Barcelona, where we will continue to offer our all-through, first-class education from Early Years to Pre-University.
This campus will join our three existing campuses: BSB Sitges, BSB Castelldefels and BSB Nexus. We offer Early Years education (for 3-to-5-year-old children) both at Sitges and Castelldefels, and now also in Barcelona.